Andrew H. Stevenson, Attorney At Law
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Lancaster 740-653-0961

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Ohio / US 800-353-5516

January 2014 Archives

The No Contest Plea and The Legend of the Legal "Loophole"

Frequently, I get calls from individuals who are upset that they were convicted of a misdemeanor and now have to go to jail, pay a fine or be on probation. I inquire why they are surprised and frequently I am told that they plead no contest and expected the case to be "thrown out."  They tell me they "heard" pleading No Contest was a loophole in the system. However, in their case, the "loophole" did not work so well. Several times I have inquired as to the details of what they heard about the "loophole," and usually I am told the following:

My Neighbor Has To Go to Court and I Don't Even Own a Chainsaw

For illustrative purposes, begin by picturing a cool fall day in October. Rather than rake the leaves piling up in my back yard, which seem to fall mostly from my neighbor's trees, I decide to take trip to the local police station. I calmly walk in, go to the nice lady behind the glass and tell her that I would like to report a crime. Asked the nature of the crime, I explain that my neighbor stole my chainsaw. The receptionist instructs me to fill out a complaint form. I dutifully comply and write down the following:

Common Misunderstandings About Protection Orders (TPO / CPO)

One the most frequent misunderstandings I encounter about protection orders (TPO and CPO) is who is actually restricted by the judicial order. In a common scenario a TPO is issued against a husband or boyfriend who has been charged with domestic violence. The order prohibits the defendant/husband from having any contact with the complaining witness/wife. It does not in anyway restrict or prohibit the wife from contacting the husband. The wife can call the husband's cell phone, leave messages and not be in violation of the TPO. However, as soon as the husband responds or returns the call he has violated the TPO and is subject to criminal charges. A TPO or CPO is an order by a judge against one person only, the named defendant or respondent.

What is the Difference between a TPO and a CPO?

A TPO (Temporary Protection Order) and a CPO (Civil Protection Order) are very similar, but there are a few very important distinctions. Both are court orders issued by a judge that restrict the contact one person can have with another. In short, they are "stay away" or "no contact" orders. The order is issued against a single person and prohibits him from contacting or going near named individuals. A violation of either a TPO or CPO is a criminal offense and is punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a $1,000.00. Both the TPO and CPO can also restrict a person's access to his home, family, firearms, and require or prohibit many other actions. In both cases, a defendant or respondent is entitled to a hearing and to have legal representation.

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